Cre'Von LeBlanc Cleared to Return to Practice
The Eagles opened a 21-day practice window for cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc, who has been on Injured Reserve since suffering a Lisfranc sprain early in training camp. The team now has three weeks to see how LeBlanc does before adding him to the 53-man roster.
“I was hoping to get back sooner, but people heal different and it was just slowly but surely,” said LeBlanc on Tuesday. “I just wanted to make sure it was right.”
The Eagles have an opening on the 53-man roster after releasing receiver Jordan Matthews on Monday.
LeBlanc returns to a crowded cornerback position, with the Eagles fully and finally healthy at that position.
It is a position that is playing well, too, holding the Patriots’ Tom Brady to just 216 yards passing then the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson to just 200 yards passing in the team’s last two games.
“I put an extreme amount of pressure on the corners in this last game,” said defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. “I mean, it's hard to play Russell Wilson and try to contain not only the passing game, but all his scrambles, unless your corners are going to have to shoulder an extremely heavy burden.
“We also knew going into the game that they weren't going to be perfect. Our message to those guys was, ‘You give up a completion, bounce right back and compete the next play,’ and I thought those guys did a good job with that, but we put a lot of pressure on those guys to make those plays.”
So where LeBlanc might fit when he is ultimately added to the roster remains unclear. The Eagles must believe there is a role for him because they only get to designate two players to return from Injured Reserve and they have some who could become candidates, including receiver DeSean Jackson, who could be eligible to return from IR if the Eagles make the playoffs.
“We’ll take it one day at a time, see what he looks like physically,” said Schwartz. “He's only been working on the side with trainers, so he's never been out with not only the position coaches, but also against other players.
“So we need to see what he looks like that way, but if he looks good, then we'll get him back into the swing as quick as we can. It will be nice to have him back. He was an important member of our defense last year, and we certainly have roles that he can fill.”
Last year, the Eagles signed LeBlanc in Week Eight because they had several injuries at cornerback, including Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, both of whom were lost for the season. LeBlanc had been released weeks earlier by the Detroit Lions.
This year, playing time and a role aren’t as cut-and-dried.
“Honestly (I’ll) just listen to coach Schwartz and (defensive backs) coach Cory (Undlin) and where they want me or wherever they need me to play, just focus on that, learn whatever position they want me to learn and however they plug me in as how they plug me in,” said LeBlanc.
Asked how quickly he may be ready to return to a game during these next three weeks, LeBlanc said: “It will definitely be a process, but I trust my coaches, I trust the rehab process. I’ve been through so it shouldn’t be as hard.”